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        To entertain some people, all you have to do is listen.



        A seminary student drove about thirty miles to church on Sunday mornings and he would frequently pick up hitchhikers. One day he picked up a young man who noticed that he was wearing a suit and asked if he could go to church with him. The student said, “Of course you can.”

        The stranger came to church and afterward was invited over to one of the members’ home for lunch and fellowship. While there, he received a hot bath, some clean clothes, and a hot meal. In conversation with the youth, his hosts found that he was a Christian, but he had been out of fellowship with the Lord. His home was in another state and he was just passing through on his way back. Later in the evening, they bought him a bus ticket and sent him on his way.

A week later, the seminary student received a letter from the hitchhiker. Enclosed with the letter was a newspaper clipping with head lines reading, “Man turns himself in for murder.” This young man had killed a teenage boy in an attempted robbery and had been running away from the law for some time. But the kindness and hospitality of Christians had convicted him. He wanted to be in fellowship with God, and he knew he needed to do the right thing about his crime.

Little did those Christians know that by their faithfulness to show hospitality they had influenced a man to do what was tight in God’s eyes and thereby help restore him to fellowship with his Lord.


Hospitality and Churches

        Singer John Charles Thomas, at age sixty-six wrote to syndicated columnist Abigail Wan Buren:

        “I am presently completing the second year of a three-year survey on the hospitality or lack of it in churches. To date, of the 195 churches I have visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an official greeter-and that was to ask me to move my feet.”--Christianity Today


Hospitality and Entertaining

        The following differentiation between “hospitality” and “entertaining” was made by Karen Mains in Open Heart, Open Home (Elgin, Ill.: Cook, 1976):

        Entertaining says, “I want to impress you with my home, my clever decorating, my cooking.” Hospitality, seeking to minister, says, “This home is a gift from my Master. I use it as He desires.” Hospitality aims to serve.

        Entertaining puts things before people. “As soon as I get the house finished, the living room decorated, my housecleaning done-then I will start inviting people. Hospitality puts people first. “No furniture-we’ll eat on the floor!” “The decorating may never get done-you come anyway.” “The house is a mess-but you are friends-come home with us.”

        Entertaining subtly declares, “This home is mine, an expression of my personality. Look, please, and admire.” Hospitality whispers, “What is mine is yours.”


Hospitality and Missions

        A Chicago businessman called his wife to get her okay for him to bring home a visiting foreigner as a guest for dinner that night. At the time, the wife had three children in school and one preschooler, so there were plenty of important things to do besides entertaining strangers. But she consented and the meal came off without a hitch. The foreigner, an important Spanish official, never forgot that meal.

        Years later, some friends of that family went to Spain as missionaries. Their work was brought to a standstill, however, by government regulations. When the Spanish official got word that the missionaries were friends of that hospitable Chicago couple, he used his influence to clear away the restrictions. There is a church today in that province of Spain, due in part to that one meal!



         Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were. ── Arnold H. Glasow.

         Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day, give him a hoe. ── Swahili proverb.